Fri, Jul 03, 2009 - Page 3 News List

Chen won’t plead guilty, ex-lawyer says

FAMILY TENSIONS DPP Taipei City councilors accused the media of harrassing the former president’s first grandson amid a fuss over his enrolling in a Taipei school

By Shelley Huang and Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTERS

Chen Chih-chung, left, son of former president Chen Shui-bian, yesterday offers free legal consultation at the Democratic Progressive Party’s Kaohsiung City chapter office. He suggested yesterday that his sister move to Kaohsiung so her oldest son could begin school there.

PHOTO: CNA

Former president Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) will not plead guilty to the charges against him despite his family members being prosecuted, Chen’s former lawyer Cheng Wen-lung (鄭文龍) said yesterday.

Cheng visited Chen yesterday at the Taipei Detention Center, where Chen has been held on corruption charges since Dec. 30 last year.

“[Chen] thinks he has not done anything illegal, so why should he plead guilty?” the lawyer said, referring to a letter former first lady Wu Shu-jen (吳淑珍) wrote to her husband reportedly reprimanding him for insisting on being a martyr even though it would ruin their daughter Chen Hsing-yu’s (陳幸妤) plans to live and study in the US this fall.

Chen Hsing-yu was barred from leaving the country last Tuesday, after she, her husband, Chao Chien-ming (趙建銘), and her brother, Chen Chih-chung (陳致中), admitted to giving false testimony during investigations into the former first family’s alleged corruption and money laundering.

Chen Shui-bian has been distressed since learning that prosecutors rejected his daughter’s request to be allowed to travel so she could register for studies in the US.

“[He] hopes his children would not be involved in the political fighting among adults. He hopes his children would not be hassled,” Cheng said, adding that his former client told him that “adults should resolve their political issues among themselves.”

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Taipei City councilors yesterday urged the media not to bother Chen Shui-bian’s grandson Chao Yi-an (趙翊安), and demanded Taipei City’s Education Department protect the boy’s rights to study in a municipal school.

Chao Yi-an’s enrollment in the Bo Ai Elementary School became the center of attention after several users of the school’s online message board, who identified themselves as teachers and parents, voiced objections to the possibility of his entering the school.

The six-year-old is the eldest son of Chen Hsing-yu. He has reached the minimum school age, according to the National Education Act (國民教育法), and is legally entitled to enroll in the school.

DPP Taipei City Councilor Chien Yu-yen (簡余晏) said the National Communications Commission should stop media outlets from following the boy or interviewing students or teachers at the school about the issue.

“We urge the media to exercise self-restraint and not to follow Chao Yi-an around, so that he can go to school happily,” she told a press conference at the Taipei City Council.

Independent Taipei City Councilor Chen Chien-ming (陳建銘) demanded the department and the school protect the boy’s right to study in Taipei.

“It would be shameful for the education field in Taipei if Chao was forced to attend school in Kaohsiung instead because of political factors,” he said.

Lin Hsin-yao (林信耀), chief secretary of the department, said the school would “definitely welcome Chao to enroll.”

Wang Jen-yu (王壬佑), director-general of the school’s academic affairs department, said that any child whose household record is registered within the school’s district was welcome to attend.

Meanwhile, swamped by reporters on her way to work yesterday, Chen Hsing-yu lost her temper when asked to comment on efforts to study in the US.

“Don’t push me!” “All of you will be punished!” she said as she was escorted by supporters into the dental clinic where she works.

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